Science: Not Just for the Classroom

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When you hear the word science, what image comes to mind? Perhaps you picture a laboratory stocked with bubbling concoctions in beakers, a person in a white coat carefully (or maybe furiously) mixing solutions. If you imagine a scene like this, then the prospect of conducting science experiments at home may seem daunting or even impossible.

Parents, have no fear. Science is simply exploration. It involves asking questions about the way the world works and then taking a calculated approach to answering those questions. Learning science at home is not only possible; it’s easy.

Science evolves from natural curiosity, and children are the most curious beings of all.

Why should I do science at home?

Education should extend beyond the four walls of the classroom. Some of the most meaningful learning can happen at home. When your children conduct science experiments with you, they feel supported in their academics. Science at home encourages children to seek authentic learning opportunities in the world around them rather than believing that learning only happens at school. When you do science at home, you are encouraging your child to ask questions about the world. You might learn something from these activities too, which will make a powerful impact on your child’s mindset. You will promote the idea that people can be lifelong learners.

Resources to get you started

This summer, Curriculum Pathways added some new elementary science labs. These lessons are not just for teachers; they are easy for parents to use too. Are you concerned that you don’t have a well-stocked laboratory? Don’t worry: all of the activities use common household materials. Do your knees start shaking at the word science because it wasn’t your strongest subject in school? It’s okay: all of the lessons include academically sound information about various science concepts. While the labs are designed for elementary students, children of all ages will likely enjoy the hands-on nature of the labs while reviewing foundational science concepts. Some of the new resources are listed below.

  • Density Bottle: students will learn about density and viscosity by layering three different liquids in a bottle and observing how they interact with one another.
  • The Forces of Flight: students will learn about aerodynamics and the four forces of flight. They will design a paper airplane and examine how the design affects its ability to fly.
  • Floating Crayons: students will learn about density and buoyancy and the relationship between them. They will repeatedly add salt to a container of water to make crayons float. Don’t have a digital scale to measure the salt? Not a problem: 1 teaspoon is approximately 4.2 grams. The Incredible Floating Crayon is a modified version of this lab that uses teaspoons as a unit instead of grams.

These labs are just messy enough to excite children, but cleanup is easy enough to please parents. The interactive design of these online resources guides students through important science concepts. Students can check for understanding after learning these concepts.

All of the labs include questions for children to answer before, during, and after the experiment, most of which provide immediate feedback. So, if you aren’t a science expert, you can learn right along with your child.

Fun science experiments

If you want to conduct some fun and, at times, messy experiments, take a look at Bring science home and 8 simple science experiments you can do at home. While these sites do not include guided lessons with content and interactive questions, they do offer cool activities that will get your child excited about science. After completing these labs, your child may have many questions about “why it works,” which will lead to engaging family conversation.

Don’t forget about computer science

If you have a mobile device, check out the free app CodeSnaps. This application serves as a platform for coding. Technology is just as much a part of science as experiments are. Careers in programming are on the rise, so it is vital that kids start learning computer science skills. Not only is coding important to developing these skills; it’s also fun! The CodeSnaps app programs directions for a robot to follow. The supported robots for this app include Sphero, SPRK, SPRK+, and Ollie. Students can do many cross-disciplinary activities with CodeSnaps, some of which you can find here. And our YouTube channel has videos to help you get started!

The CodeSnaps app programs directions for a robot to follow. The supported robots include Sphero, SPRK, SPRK+, and Ollie. 

These activities do more than just offer opportunities for your child to learn science. They also provide an opportunity for your family to have conversations and build memories together. Go ahead and give science a try!

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About Author

Laura Croyle

Laura Croyle has taught elementary school for six years and is a member of the Curriculum Pathways Summer Teacher Institute. She earned her bachelor's degree and a Master of Arts in Teaching & Curriculum from Michigan State University. She has a passion for literacy and incorporating digital learning practices into the classroom. Her teaching philosophy includes fostering positive relationships through providing opportunities for student autonomy. Follow her on Twitter @LauraKCroyle.

1 Comment

  1. farkhanda malik on

    Hiiii….
    Miss Laura Croyle....
    I read your blog and I think it is good idea that parents should show involvement with their children to do science lab experiment at home, children should not to bound in the walls of school boundary, definitely it will encourage the children to ask questions to their parents in this way children will seek authentic learning opportunities.this type of learning also provide a platform to parents to learn more and enhance their knowledge.parents should install such type of applications in their mobile phones that enhance the children interaction with computer science rather than installing games.

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